COVID-19 Update:

  • Provincial News

Ontario Accelerates Essential Construction Projects During COVID-19

In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, Ontario is extending construction hours for essential construction projects, like critical projects in the health care sector, to 24 hours a day. Work on new hospital builds, expansions, and COVID-19 assessment centres will be able to continue any time of the night or day in order to help accelerate the construction of these important projects and enable employers to take additional steps to protect the health and safety of workers on these job sites.

Ontario will temporarily limit local noise bylaws from applying to these types of essential construction activities beginning April 7, 2020. This will allow for expedited construction on key facilities, such as new hospital builds, expansions, temporary COVID-19 response units or structures, and COVID-19 assessment centres. Extending hours for essential construction will also give worksite managers more flexibility to stagger shifts, limit the number of people in one place, and take reasonable precautions to keep workers safe and healthy under the recent guidelines issued by Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer for construction sites.

Ontario is also making essential workplaces across the province safer during the COVID-19 pandemic by:

  • Redeploying more than 30 employment standards officers to help businesses understand and comply with health and safety requirements;
  • Working with health and safety associations to deploy up to 30 specialists to support employers and workers in the field;
  • Issuing health and safety guidance notes to support specific sectors;
  • Doubling the capacity of Ontario’s Health and Safety Call Centre from 25 to 50 phonelines;
  • Providing job-protected leave under the Employment Standards Act for workers who need to self-isolate or care for a loved one because of COVID-19;
  • Issuing a call to recently-retired inspectors who may be able and willing to return to their positions;
  • Providing compliance assistance and enforcing the emergency orders issued under the Emergency Measures and Civil Protection Act.

Temporary Changes to Canada Summer Jobs Program

The Canada Summer Jobs program provides opportunities for youth to develop and improve their skills within the not-for-profit, small business, and public sectors, and supports the delivery of key community services. 

Government of Canada is making temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program that will allow for employers to:

  • Receive an increased wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee;
  • Extend the end date for employment to February 28, 2021;
  • Adapt their projects and job activities;
  • Hire staff on a part-time basis.

Employment and Social Services

Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS) continues to provide critical services to vulnerable residents and is maintaining a level of service to ensure the provision of critical financial benefits and supports for low-income clients and vulnerable residents.

Provision of critical services primarily by phone include:

  • new applications for Ontario Works (OW) financial assistance (by phone) at 416-338-8888
  • ensuring active OW clients continue to receive their monthly payments
  • Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) requests
  • continuation of benefits such as special diet, employment related expenses, and medical transportation
  • funeral applications

In-person services are restricted at this time and provided by exception only as most service can be provided to those in need by phone.

Check the Employment and Social Services section on the City’s Affected City Services & Facilities web page for updates on impacted services and when they may return to normal service.

Map of Food Banks

The Emergency Operations Centre is developing a map of all food banks in Toronto which will help identify which food banks are open/closed and if there are locations that need support.

The best source for up-to-date information on food program availability is The food listings are updated daily as information is received from providers. Residents can call 211 directly, or view the map on the 211 website.

Financial Help to Pay Rent

Tenants should reach out to their landlords to discuss their situation – many landlords are developing payment plans for tenants on a case-by-case basis.

The City of Toronto offers a range of financial supports for tenants:

  • Money for Emergency Housing Needs: Housing Stabilization Fund – Ontario Works or ODSP
  • Interest-Free Loans for Low-Income Households Facing Eviction
  • Grants for Tenants Challenging Rent Hikes, Demolitions or Condo Conversions
  • Rent Reduction for Tenants in Buildings with Reduced Property Taxes
  • Energy-Related Emergency Help for Low-Income Residents
  • Money for Home Energy Conservation Supplies – Ontario Works
  • Other Financial Help to Pay Utility Bills

At Risk of Being Evicted?

The Province has suspended all eviction-related activity. No renter households are currently at imminent risk of eviction for non-payment of rent. Households should be able to maintain their housing for April 1, 2020.

Please note that while evictions are stopped now, the current expectation is that tenants will have to get caught up on rent in time.

If your landlord has on their own locked you out of your unit:

  • Contact the Province’s Rental Housing Enforcement Unit or call 416-585-7214 or 1-888-772-9277
  • Seek legal support or advice from your local community clinic  (search by postal code)

Learn how the eviction process has changed  due to COVID-19.